Dome International Schools is in fact a single school (though split into girls’ and boys’ campuses) offering two international curricula – the US Common Core curriculum and the English Cambridge International Curriculum. It has recently opened a second branch in Al Malka.
Dome International Schools was founded in 2016, offering two separate schools, one providing the US curriculum and an accredited US High School Diploma, the other following the internationalised version of the English National Curriculum culminating in A Levels. The medium of instruction is English throughout the school.
Dome International Schools' Goal is “to enhance standard educational services with advanced technologies which provide the best educational experience and learning outcomes to our Learners.”
Dome opened with some 600 learners. The school currently has around 1,870 students, the majority of whom are Saudi citizens, but overall, according to the school, there are 26 different nationalities including Americans, British, Arabs, Chinese, South Americans, Australians, Canadians, and Africans among others. The school says that most learners’ families represent the non-government and diplomatic sectors with international and local businesses also well represented.
Students are supported by a teaching team of 204 educators from 13 nationalities, the majority of whom are native English speakers. The non-teaching staff is 100 strong from 12 nationalities. KG classes are provided with a teaching assistant. Class sizes average 20 students / class with a maximum of 24 students.
Dome is the largest British Council partner in Riyadh Region and also the largest US College Board SAT Testing Center. It has also recently become a partner of IELTS through the British Council and offers an exclusive IELTS preparation and Examination centre. The school’s High School Diploma is accredited by COGNIA, one of the largest US School and Colleges Accreditation Boards.
For students pursuing the US curriculum, Dome offers the American Common Core standards (for Math and Literacy) and the Next Generation Science Standards. The American curriculum is embedded in the international Foundation Program (FP) for grades K-7, an Orientation Program for grade 8 and the American Diploma Program based on SATs for grades 9-12. Students following the US curriculum may be subject to assessments or examinations including MAP, SAT, SAT Subjects, and ACT.
Students following the US curriculum focus on English, Math, Science (both Physical and Life), a second language (Arabic), ICT, Social Studies, Fine Arts, Physical Education and Health Sciences. Electives include English Literature and French. In High School, World History, Business, Economics and Accounting are included in the core of studies. Students are required to follow the Ministry of Education curriculum for Arabic and Islamic Studies and Saudi History and Geography.
Students who join the UK curriculum programmes initially follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in the Reception and KG 2, the Cambridge Primary for grades KG3 (equivalent to Year 1) to 5, the Cambridge Secondary curriculum for grades 6 to 10 (leading to International GCSE examinations), and International Advanced Level for grades 11 and 12.
The Cambridge Primary curriculum (5-11 years) provides a foundation for the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. At the end of this stage, learners can opt to take the Cambridge Checkpoint exam. The Checkpoint exams are a benchmark test to assess learners’ progress in relation to the Cambridge curriculum framework. The main aim of the exam is to identify key areas in a learner’s progress that are strong, as well as areas that need assistance and development.
The Cambridge Lower Secondary (11-14 years) curriculum continues to focus on the core subjects but broadens its content to include a range of others including History/Geography, ICT, the Arts and languages. Learners are challenged to make practical connections between their studies, critical thinking and the real world. At the end of this stage, learners can opt to take Cambridge Checkpoint exam.
Students in Grades 9 and 10 follow the Cambridge International Secondary programme leading to IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education). Subject options include English (First Language), English (Second Language), Business Studies, Accounting, Mathematics, Computer Studies, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, I.C.T., Economics, Global Perspectives, Islamiyat, Pakistan Studies, and Urdu. Some subjects may not be offered if there are insufficient students to participate.
Finally, in Grades 11 and 12, students study for Cambridge International A Level examinations. Subjects offered include Accounting, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computer studies, Economics, English Language, IT, Mathematics, and Physics.
According to the school, 95% of students pursue further education post-graduation.
Dome’s principal language of instruction is English. A Mother Tongue programme supports the development and maintenance of mother tongue Arabic. French is also currently offered as an additional language and there are plans to offer Chinese and German within an unspecified timeframe.
Physical Education activities at the school appear to be limited (as is outdoor space) but includes basketball and football.
Students can expect to undertake homework activities with weekly plans. The homework activities are designed to enhance learning outcomes, involving, but not limited to writing, reading, and problem-solving.
Dome says it offers multiple extracurricular activities including but not limited to, education and entertainment trips, science fair, science projects, entrepreneurship and young trader's day, cultures of the world day and others designed for young learners in Kindergarten and Lower Primary/Elementary also.
Dome says that it offers limited support for students with additional needs – and these appear to be focused on physical support rather than specific educational support. A basic support system is provided such as ramps, elevators, and the availability of Nurse/Doctor on campus.
The school says that it supports gifted, able and talented students, offering scholarships for outstanding learners. With the help of its educational network partners, the school says it is able to engage and support talented learners in multiple activities outside of school.
Classrooms are provided with smartboards, and online and digital resources are available for the use of students and staff. Specialist labs and classrooms are provided, together with a canteen.
Without question, Dome International Schools have established themselves quickly and have proven to be a popular choice for both local families and also for families expatriated to Saudi.
This fact is underlined by the opening, in August 2022, of a second school in the Al Malka area of Riyadh, approximately a 25 minute drive from the original school in Al Masiaf.
There is little information directly available about the new school, although it seems that Dome’s management is keen to attract students to it – a 25% fee discount is available for the 2022-23 academic year. It would also appear that the school is officially open from Grades 1 to 12, but in reality, only those grades for which there is sufficient demand will open at the present time.
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Fees are on the affordable side for a school offering an international curriculum in Riyadh. They are, however, significantly more costly in the UK curriculum section. The fees shown in our Fees and Availability tab, reflect these. Fees for children joining the UK curriculum section start at 25,125 SAR for Reception, KG1 (FS2) and KG2 (Year 1) rising to 38,250 SAR for AS Level Grade 11 and 40,125 SAR for A2 Level in Grade 12.
By contrast, fees in the US curriculum section start at 17,000 SAR for Nursery and Pre-KG, rising to 34,000 SAR for students studying in Grades 10 to 12.
Fees at the new Al Malka campus are understood to range from 20,000 SAR- to 45,000 SAR in the US curriculum section and 33,500 SAR to 55,300 SAR for the UK curriculum school.
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